#minimumwage

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Minimum Wage Rises for Most of USA

Minimum Wage Rises for Most of USA

by David Klemt

Closeup of Ben Franklin on $100 bill

More than half of the states across America are either now seeing a boost to minimum wage or plan to increase the hourly minimum by the middle of this year.

In total, minimum wage is up in 27 states. However, the rise isn’t yet in place in a handful of states, including Nevada.

Now, the federal minimum wage still has yet to go up. That rate remains at $7.25 per hour, where it has been since 2009. For the curious, if a person works 40 hours per week and is compensated at the federal minimum rate, that’s just over $15,000 per year—before taxes.

Per Motley Fool: “If we factor in inflation, [federal minimum wage] would have had to grow to $10.20 to let people buy the same amount of goods and services today [as in 2009]. In real terms, the current minimum wage has shrunk by almost 30% since it was set.”

You’ll see below that I didn’t list the increases for tipped workers. As an operator, you should already be well aware of the minimum rate your tipped workers must be paid. In all likelihood, your suite of software is already updated to the current requirements (but check yourself to be certain).

The list will provide an idea of what you’re up against. It’s difficult to recruit rock stars if you’re unable to offer wages above minimum wage, never mind at minimum wage.

Today, for most workers, the minimum isn’t going to cut it. So, when you’re looking at what you can offer, keep in mind the minimum wage for both tipped and un-tipped workers in your area.

Also, know what other operators are paying. To remain competitive, consider what else you can offer, including your values and culture.

States Increasing Minimum Wage

Below, the states with an increase to the minimum wage. Rather than organize the list by hourly rate or rate of increase, I set it up alphabetically.

  1. Alaska: $10.85 per hour
  2. Arizona: $13.85 per hour
  3. California: $15.50 per hour
  4. Colorado: $13.65 per hour
  5. Connecticut: $15 per hour (June 1)
  6. Delaware: $11.75 per hour
  7. Florida: $11 per hour (September 30)
  8. Hawaii: $12 per hour
  9. Illinois: $13 per hour
  10. Maine: $13.80 per hour
  11. Maryland: $13.25 per hour
  12. Massachusetts: $15 per hour
  13. Michigan: $10.10 per hour (could rise further; lawsuit pending)
  14. Minnesota: $8.63 per hour (small employer); $10.59 per hour (large employer)
  15. Missouri: $12 per hour
  16. Montana: $9.95 per hour
  17. Nebraska: $10.50 per hour
  18. Nevada: $11.25 per hour (July 1)
  19. New Jersey: $14.13 per hour
  20. New Mexico: $12 per hour
  21. New York: $14.20 per hour (excluding some areas); $15 per hour for fast food workers
  22. Ohio: $10.10 per hour
  23. Rhode Island: $13 per hour
  24. South Dakota: $10.80 per hour
  25. Vermont: $13.18 per hour
  26. Virginia: $12 per hour
  27. Washington: $15.74 per hour

Among the states on the list above, four are lifting minimum wage to at least $15. Those states are Connecticut, Massachusetts, California, and Washington. Additionally, the minimum wage is $15 per hour in parts of New York.

Interestingly, employers in Nevada can reduce the minimum wage by one dollar if they pay qualifying health insurance. In such a case, the hourly minimum will be $10.25.

Only one of these states, Montana, will remain under $10.

Cities, Counties, Districts

As stated above, some parts of New York have a minimum wage higher than $14.20.

There are also cities, counties, and districts boosting the minimum wage.

  • Denver, Colorado: $17.29 per hour
  • Long Island, New York: $15 per hour
  • New York City, New York: $15 per hour
  • Washington, DC: $16.50 per hour
  • Westchester County, New York: $15 per hour

Overall, more than half the country either already increased the minimum wage or will do so later this year.

Image: Adam Nir on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

$28.82 per Hour for NYC Delivery Workers?

$28.82 per Hour for NYC Delivery Workers?

by David Klemt

Delivery worker on bicycle on city street

In response to the New York City Council’s proposal of $23.82 per hour for delivery workers, some “deliveristas” are asking for more.

Now, before we proceed, no, this isn’t a re-run of an article from last week. This isn’t a case of déjà vu—it’s the evolution of a news story that’s developing rapidly.

So, how much more do delivery workers in NYC want? Well, they’re after a significant bump over the council’s minimum hourly wage proposal.

Requesting that the NYC Council more accurately account for deliverista expenses, some delivery workers are asking for $28.82 per hour.

Early last week, a group consisting of Los Deliveristas Unidos and the Worker’s Justice Project members came together. They gathered at New York City Hall to make their stance on the NYC Council’s minimum wage proposal.

As the deliveristas see it, an increase from $23.82 to $28.82 more accurately reflects their operating expenses. The argument is compelling when one considers costs beyond fuel.

Asking for More

After all, not every delivery worker in NYC (and other markets) uses a car, truck or SUV to make deliveries. That should explain the use of the term “delivery worker,” not “delivery driver.” Some deliveristas ride motorcycles, mopeds, or bicycles. I’m willing to bet some even use scooters, rollerblades, or skateboards.

Using any mode of transportation as a delivery worker comes with requirements, both legal and practical. For example, deliveristas must maintain insurance, maintain their transportation, and purchase and maintain safety equipment.

And yes, that safety equipment is crucial. According to some reports, around a third of NYC those who deliver on two wheels have been injured on the job. Tragically, 33 delivery workers have been killed since 2020. In fact, NYC says delivery workers have the highest injury rate.

Another interesting development may seem semantic. However, when one takes time to truly consider the point it’s rather poignant.

In asking for the proposal of $23.82 to rise by $5 by 2025, are asking for a living wage. Not minimum wage, as the proposal frames the hike, but a living wage.

One worker, Antonio Solís, as quoted by The City, a non-profit NYC news publication, explained: “We are asking the city to make a $5 adjustment, to go that extra mile to ensure we get to a living wage.”

A Request, not a Rejection

It’s also important to note that NYC’s delivery workers aren’t rejecting the council’s minimum wage proposal. Rather, the request is that the council considers updating their proposal ahead of a December 16 public hearing on the matter.

So far, companies like DoorDash, Grubhub, and Uber Eats haven’t released much in the way of statements. However, there have been reports quoting a handful of representatives. In pushing back against the proposal, they’ve mentioned increased costs; reduced deliveries; and the possibility of “locking out” deliveristas if delivery demand is low at a given time.

Should legislation go into effect after the public hearing, it’s likely we’ll see lawsuits from the delivery companies.

Image: Patrick Connor Klopf on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

$23.82 Minimum Wage for Delivery Workers?

$23.82 Minimum Wage for Delivery Workers in NYC?

by David Klemt

Red "New York" sign on building

With a public hearing on the docket for December 16, the New York City Council is proposing “fairer pay for delivery workers.”

The move is a year in the making. Last year, the NYC Council approved legislation with the goal of improving delivery worker pay and working conditions.

Now, the council is moving to increase minimum wage for the 60,000-plus delivery workers in the city.

At the risk of coming across as pessimistic, the legislation is likely to be unpopular with third-party delivery services. After all, when NYC and San Francisco passed laws to cap third-party delivery commissions, the big services filed lawsuits.

So, again, increasing the minimum wage for delivery workers in NYC will probably not go down well with companies like Uber, DoorDash, and Grubhub.

It’s possible we’ll find out before the end of this year. After the public hearing, the NYC Council will consider public comments. Then, the council could move forward and enact the legislation.

What’s in the Proposal?

Should the rule go into effect after the public hearing on December 16, minimum wage would rise to $17.87 per hour for third-party delivery workers. By April 1, 2025, that rate would increase to $23.82.

“This new proposed minimum pay rate would help ensure a fairer pay for delivery workers for third-party apps, providing more stability for 60,000 workers across our city,” says New York City Mayor Eric Adams.

According to reports, Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso is in favor of the legislation as well.

“It’s absolutely unacceptable that the restaurant delivery workers who provide for so many in this city are not justly compensated for their time, reimbursed for their expenses or provided essential benefits,” says Reynoso.

So, how did the council arrive at the $23.82 per hour figure? Well, we actually have that information:

  • $19.86, which matches standards set by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission for ride-hail drivers;
  • $2.26 for expenses delivery workers incur; and
  • $1.70 for worker’s compensation.

Why Legislate Delivery Worker Pay?

It appears the main reason is an incredibly simple one. In short, third-party delivery workers aren’t making minimum wage in NYC.

Per the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP), delivery workers average less than the city’s $15 minimum wage. With tips, they’re averaging $14.18. And without tips? As one can imagine, the hourly rate plummets: $7.09 per hour.

According to the DCWP, the average hourly expense a delivery worker incurs is $3.06. So, that drives their hourly pay to $11.12 with tips, $4.03 without.

In an argument likely to be cited in any lawsuit filed by DoorDash (or at least shared in a public statement), the company claims its delivery workers make almost $29 per hour.

Clearly, there’s a discrepancy somewhere. Either delivery drivers are woefully underpaid for the service they provide or multiple researchers are misinterpreting hourly pay data.

Several sources have cited a statement made by a DoorDash representative about the NYC Council’s proposal:

“Dashing allows so many across New York City to earn when, where and how often they choose,” says the rep. “Unfortunately, the proposed rule does not appropriately account for this flexibility or that Dashers are able to choose which deliveries they accept or reject.”

Their statement continues, addressing a possible rise in costs and drop in orders:

“Failing to address this could significantly increase the costs of delivery, reducing orders for local businesses and harming the very delivery workers it intends to support.”

Why Should I Care if I Don’t Operate in New York City?

We’ll see—quickly, apparently—if this proposal becomes law. Should that happen, there’s reason to assume similar proposals will pop up in other cities and states.

We’ll also see whether or not third-party delivery companies file lawsuits in response. They’ve done so for commission caps, after all.

At any rate, this is one to watch. Similar legislation could be coming to your market.

Image: Nik Shuliahin 💛💙 on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Tipping is on the Ballot in Washington, DC

Tipping is on the Ballot in Washington, DC

by David Klemt

Folded dollar bills

Out of concern that people who work for tips aren’t making minimum wage in Washington, DC, Initiative 82 is on the ballot.

This is interesting for several reasons. One of which is the fact this isn’t the first time this issue has been voted on in DC.

Back in 2018, Initiative 77 was presented to Washington, DC, voters. The initiative took the $3.33 per hour minimum wage for tipped workers up to $15 per hour, the full minimum wage.

In June 2018, the measure was approved by voters. However, the Washington, DC, Council held a vote and repealed Initiative 77 after if had been passed.

Phil Mendelson (D-Chairman) of the Washington, DC, Council, introduced the bill that ultimately repealed Initiative 77 in October 2018.

“The Council amends laws all the time. And if a law is a bad law it should be amended or repealed,” said Mendelson at the time. “It doesn’t matter if the law was adopted by Congress, the voters, or ourselves.”

Further, Mendelson claimed that tipped workers themselves—bartenders, servers, valets, manicurists, and more—didn’t hold a favorable view of the passing of the initiative.

“77 may be well-intentioned, but the very people the Initiative is intended to help are overwhelmingly opposed. If we want to help workers – protect them from harassment and exploitation – there are better ways than Initiative 77,” Mendelson said.

One council member, Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3), opposed repealing Initiative 77 and addressed claims that it was harmful to tipped workers.

“Although I take these claims seriously, in my view they are speculative and not borne out by the experience of the other jurisdictions that have one wage,” said Cheh.

Support

Whenever increasing tipped worker wages to full minimum wage comes up, we tend to encounter the same arguments for and against.

Currently, the tipped hourly wage in DC is $5.35 per hour. In comparison, full minimum wage in DC is $16.10 per hour.

Now, as the law reads, if a tipped worker’s wages don’t equate to full minimum wage, their employer is expected to bridge the gap.

The key argument for the passing of Initiative 82 is simple: tipped workers should make at least minimum wage. These workers deserve the stability of knowing how much they’ll make each shift and earning a living wage (consistently, hopefully).

Those who support Initiative 82 also say that since the measure doesn’t outlaw tipping, tipped workers would earn more than minimum wage.

Opposition

Opponents, however, argue that the initiative will harm tipped workers. Some say that operators will cut shifts and increase prices in response to Initiative 82 passing. This will, of course, lead to servers, bartenders, and other tipped workers making much less than they did in the past.

Traffic may also decrease because it’s assumed that operators will increase costs significantly.

There’s also the argument that’s often (if not always) made when this topic comes up: Tipped workers themselves don’t support these initiatives.

“I have not met a single server who wants this,” Washington, DC, bar owner David Perruzza told the Washington Blade. Perruzza added, “The people who support this don’t know anything about the service industry.”

A Few Questions…

I’ve made no secret of my cynicism when it comes to politicians and their relationships with our industry.

My main argument was made for me: the Restaurant Revitalization Fund saga. We watched for months as Congress failed to replenish the RRF, leaving more than 177,000 operators and their staffs to fend for themselves. This, after months of dangling replenishment in front of all of us. Ultimately, they abandoned us.

Tellingly, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) referred to RRF replenishment as a “bailout.” And apparently he doesn’t think much of the challenges operators have faced since the start of the pandemic, asking, “Where’s the emergency?” The closures of tens of thousands of restaurants and bars, often the cornerstones of communities across the country, doesn’t rank as an emergency, apparently.

So, Initiative 77, Initiative 82, and similar measures beg a few questions:

  • Do politicians actually ask their tipped-wage constituents their thoughts on this topic before introducing these ballot measures?
  • When these initiatives are being considered, do people just ask a few operator friends their opinions?
  • Do local, state, and federal politicians really have a grasp of our industry?

One thing is certain: Industry eyes across the country are on Initiative 82. If it passes, we can likely expect similar measures to be introduced in cities and states. Should it fail, it may be a while before another jurisdiction sees this type of initiative again.

Image: Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Top